Today I have a very special guest here helping me out while I catch up on sleep and snuggles.
Libby's post below also talks about this but I met Libby through Mister and I am oh so glad I did. They were great law school buddies and I am very happy that Mister shared her with me ;) We've run a half marathon together, drank many a glasses of wine and discussed most things under the sun.
Libby has always been inspiring to me as a mother (she has 3 very adorable boys) and even more so now reflecting on how she went through the preemie journey as well.
When we were in the midst of our crazy labor day and beginning to think what a NICU and preemie journey would look like I very specifically looking at Mister and saying 'Libby's boy was early, right?! And he's okay! So we will be okay.'
I have a whole post in my head dedicated to this but no one ever talks about having a baby early. Granted it is very scary but I think it should at least be approached at least one appointment.
Through all of this it has been comforting to have close friends like Libby that know what you're feeling and what you're going through. And what it means to sometimes just need to cry it out in your car. Those days have thankfully gotten better ;)
Take it away, Libby!
I was lucky enough to meet Sarah through Mister who was a law school classmate of mine. As many of you know, she is amazing. Sarah’s bravery, commitment and dedication here, was part of my inspiration to start my own blog, myrabbittrails.com.
As a small thank you to Sarah for that inspiration, I figured I would try to give her a few extra hours to stare at Little Mister (or sleep) by writing a post. Here it goes…
Three weeks and 6 days ago, you became a mom. I could list all the standard cliche advice on how to be a great mom. Instead I’ll tell you a story that ends 4 weeks ago, when you were already a great mom.
Four years ago I, like you, noticed my Victoria Secret’s (who am I kidding? My underwear, full briefs, are from Target) were not feeling fresh from the dryer. I, like you, asked one of my doctors about it. I, like you, was told it was probably just a little pee-pee.
That day, the probably just a little pee-pee day, I did not see my primary OB. I saw the doctor who was the grandfather of the practice. He gave me a wink and a pat on the back. Gently, yet wordlessly, dismissing my concerns while conveying that common message: Relax, first time mama. Nothing to worry about, you silly thing.
Despite his far greater pregnancy and childbirth experience than me, I, like you, doubted his conclusion. I, like you, googled obsessively. (If my doctor wouldn’t believe me, I could at least find some internet support to explain what was happening to me!) I, like you, soon there after, delivered early.
As the nurse wheeled me into my delivery room, for one last time, just for good measure, I heard the doctor (again, not my primary OB, but another member of the practice) say, “did her water really break?” One last chance to doubt the first-time pregnant woman.
WebMD tells me that at 31 years old I had urinated over 90,000 times in my life. Surely I knew the difference between water breaking and a little pee-pee.
Thank god for the nurse who indignantly exclaimed, clearly exasperated from the regularity for which she must answer this question, “It sure did! You want to see the trail that followed us from the lobby to here!?” She said it with all the strength and fire that could only come from fielding this question numerous times before.
Because that nurse knows what I am about to tell you: Trust your own damn instincts, girl.
After my oldest came six weeks early and spent the first month of his life in the NICU, I wrestled with: Why? I tried to figure out what it meant. I tried to find a reason or a lesson in it.
Maybe I was looking for a silver lining in the pain and the fear that comes with delivering a baby that weighs less than a butternut squash. A baby that needs an incubator, feeding tube, and constant monitors to ensure his heart is beating, his temperature regulated and his lungs breathing.
During my baby’s stay in the NICU, I bumped into my primary OB in the hospital cafeteria. I asked him why my baby came early. He told me we’ll never know. He opined on several potential reasons. Then repeated: we’ll never know.
I was thankful for his answer. I appreciated that he was thoughtful, rather than quickly dishing default advice. He gave me an honest answer, rather than assuming he knew better than me.
Left to draw my own conclusions, this is the best I could come up with: It is a lesson to trust my own (and your) own instincts.
Like you trusted your instincts that it was not just a little tinkle. Like you knew that it was different than the other 90,000 times in your life that you had tinkled.
In the face of being told to doubt yourself, you stayed strong. You persevered through humor with your friends, when you were scared inside. You persevered through research, when you knew it would likely reveal the truth you did not want to know. You persevered through continued doubt but you knew.
Because you know your body. Because you know Little Mister. Because Little Mister is yours and no one else’s.
This will not be the last time your judgment as a mother is questioned or doubted. There will be moments when others weigh in to question your judgment. Sometimes I am the one weighing in, questioning my own judgment!
I am not saying ignore others. I am saying don’t ignore yourself. Being a new mom does not make you less of a mom.
Trust your own instincts. You will do this your way. You don’t have to do it anyone else’s way. Because you are no one else’s mom and Little Mister is no one else’s son (you do have to share him with Mister and Floyd).
You know him in your heart. You know it in your heart. You got this even when you don’t think you do.
Well about that crying thing getting better...
Thank you Libby for your sweet words, your encouragement and support.
Now go check out Libby's blog!!
I would check out this post and make those treats immediately if I were you.